1 November 2018 by David Ward
Wexas Canada specialist Heather Harris heads west to explore the wilderness and heritage of one of Canada’s most remote provinces.
Home to Canada’s five tallest mountains and the world’s largest sub-Arctic ice field, the Yukon is a showcase for nature on its grandest scale. In summer, national parks glow under the Midnight Sun, while in winter – perhaps the Yukon’s most enchanting season – the night skies sparkle with the ethereal beauty of the Northern Lights, reflected in mirrored lakes and rushing rivers. It’s a place steeped in history, too, with a past that speaks of aboriginal longevity and the ephemeral Klondike Gold Rush.
Northern Lights over Lake Laberge, Yukon
The vast majority of journeys through the Yukon begin with its capital, Whitehorse. Spread out along the picturesque banks of the rushing Yukon River, at the crossroads of the province’s two great highways – the Alaska and the Klondike – this is a city that rewards those who take time to scratch beneath the surface. Among its myriad surprises are a vibrant arts scene and a collection of heritage buildings hidden among the otherwise modern cityscape.
But it’s the world beyond that defines this grandest of regions. The glaciers, ice fields, rivers and forests of Kluane National Park are home to moose, Dall sheep and grizzly bears, while scenic drives along the Silver Trail between Keno and Mayo provide glimpses of the province’s centuries-old First Nations heritage.
Grizzly bear in Kluane National Park
Lastly there’s the former capital Dawson City, an authentic gold-rush town and the starting point of that other classic Yukon driving route – the Top of the World Highway. This magnificent stretch of road brings visitors west through a landscape of barren, snow-capped peaks, right to the Alaskan border and beyond.
Autumn landscapes on the outskirts of Dawson City